MadBum called Robles 'a clown.' Robles responds literally

July 25th, 2022

PHOENIX -- The day after Victor Robles brushed off Madison Bumgarner’s reference to him as a “clown” for his late-game home run celebration, he made light of the veteran left-hander’s commentary by donning a red clown nose.

Television cameras captured the center fielder with his new accessory before the Nationals' 4-3 win over the D-backs in Sunday's series finale at Chase Field.

With the Nationals down six runs in the eighth inning on Saturday, Robles hit a solo shot -- his third home run of the season -- off Bumgarner, who took exception to how long Robles watched the ball flying out to left field.

"He's a clown, golly,” Bumgarner said after the game. “No shame. No shame. It's 7-1, you hit your third homer of the year and you act like Barry Bonds breaking the record. Clean it up.

“I don't care about giving up the run. Hell, we won 7-2, 8-2, whatever it was. It's frustrating. I'm the old grumpy guy, I know, but that type of stuff didn't used to happen. That's ridiculous."

Robles didn’t let Bumgarner’s reaction faze him. Saturday’s game was one of Robles’ better plate performances of the season, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.

"When he's pitching well, he's able to celebrate and do what he likes to do,” Robles said Saturday night. “It seems like he calls everybody a clown that actually has a big hit or home run against him. If he doesn't want anyone hitting a home run against him or having any issues with that, then just strike people out or make better pitches to where he doesn't have to worry about that."

Bumgarner has been involved in memorable back-and-forths with opposing hitters in the past. When Max Muncy admired his shot into McCovey Cove off Bumgarner in a June 9, 2019, matchup between the Dodgers and Giants, Bumgarner was not pleased. Muncy responded, “I told him if you don’t want to watch me run, you can go in the ocean and get it.”

Bumgarner also has had tense moments with Yasiel Puig, including after a bat-flip celebration of a home run on May 12, 2019. “He’s a quick study,” Bumgarner said at the time. “It only took him seven years to learn how to hit that pitch.”

“I’ve seen a lot worse [home run celebrations], let’s put it that way,” manager Dave Martinez said Sunday morning. “We know that Bum does get frustrated when guys hit home runs off of him if he deems that they didn’t run right away. But you know what, I’ve seen way, way worse. I thought Victor didn’t do a whole lot to deem him calling him a clown. But that’s the way Bum sees it. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s been a hell of a pitcher for a long time. But I thought Vic didn’t do much to warrant that.”

A strong game or series of games could help spark momentum for Robles, who hit .233 in the first half of the season. Following up on Saturday’s production, he went 1-for-4 on Sunday. He was active early, singling into right field, avoiding a pickoff at second base but getting thrown out on an attempt to steal third base in the first inning.

“We’re working hard with him and trying to get him to put the ball in play,” Martinez said. “He’s had some good at-bats, but he’s playing really good defense. Like I’ve said, when he gets on base, he creates good things. We need his energy. He’s playing well right now.”

But Martinez would prefer Robles to send his messages with his bat or glove, rather than a clown nose.

“I didn’t see it. I heard about it. I’ll talk to him … But yeah, that’s not who we are, right?” Martinez said following Sunday’s game. “It happened. It’s done. I don’t want to see that kind of stuff.”